If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.
- Jesus (John 15:18-19)
I have recently had a change at work, an assignment change. Although I requested this reassignment for a lot of reasons, I discovered something. I was ill prepared for the emotions I was going to experience. I mean, totally not ready for it. I think the last time I felt this awkward was my first day on the job (that was a long time ago). I told one of the other guys on my shift that I felt like I had just parachuted on to Mars naked with nothing but a compass and a bag of jellybeans.
Change is awkward. Change is hard. I used to say, with a bit of pride, that I had no problem with change, that change is good. I got part of that right anyway. Some forms of change are good.
About a year or so ago, my life changed dramatically. Its not like things had not begun to be different; a shift was taking place in my life. But, in April of last year, my life radically changed.
I met Jesus.
Now, nothing is the same. When I met Him, I asked Him to change some things about me that I didn’t like. Oh, I acted like I liked them. I kept trying to tell myself that I was all cool and didn’t need anyone to run my life thank you very much. The truth is I was miserable. I hated myself and most of my behavior.
I think there’s a reason for our misery with ourselves. See, I think that we are not really alive, not really ourselves until we meet Him. Until He gets into our hearts. Then, we discover who we really are. So, I asked Him to show me who I really was. He called me ‘Son’ and ‘Friend’. He told me He loved me. He told me there was nothing I could do to change His love for me. I wasn’t ready for that either.
So I said, “Ok Jesus. If I’m really your friend and God’s son, like You, then show me how to be your friend. Show me how to be my Father’s son because I’m not real sure what that looks like.” He smiled at me and said, “Are you sure? I’ve wanted to give you this gift for a long time. So, if you’re serious, I’m in. This is going to take awhile and it’s going to hurt sometimes. But, just hold on to Me. Stay with Me.”
And so the adventure began. I told Him I wanted a new heart. He said, “How ‘bout I just give you your real heart back?” And He has begun to do just that; not only to show me my real heart, but to change my heart to be more like Him. I find myself with no desire for who I was, what I did. I find that He is loving and patient, kind, fierce, bold and gentle all at once.
As He has begun this heart “surgery”, I find that I feel like I don’t belong anymore. Those “places” I used to go, I no longer desire. Wait, that’s not entirely accurate. Rather, He has changed me to feel even more alive, more human, to feel that I finally truly belong.
I was having a conversation with a dear brother recently and I described some of this feeling of not belonging, this new reality which has become mine. He said, “You’re like a Martian who’s been dropped off on Earth.” How perfect.
So, earthling, do you want to be really alive and fully human like the other ‘Martians’? If so, I have a guy I want you to meet.
His name is Jesus.